all think alike, those who are capable of finding proper
solutions quickly and easily have something in
common. They follow a well-established pattern of
thought and action.
Some people practice the pattern instinctively,
thereby reaching solid, useful conclusions in what
appears to be an amazingly short time. For most of us,
this pattern is not one we know instinctively. We learn
it only after having paid in concerted effort. We may
learn of it in the classroom, on the job, or from books,
but it becomes a habit only after the trial and error of
The problem-solving process can be divided into six
steps. Preliminary to solving a problem, you must
recognize that there is an actual problem to be solved.
Then you proceed as follows:
1. Define the problem.
2. Establish objectives; that is, determine what you
want to accomplish.
3. Get the facts. Assemble all the facts related to
the problem. Decide what personnel, if any, are
involved. Review the record. Find out what rules,
regulations, and customs apply. Contact any individuals
concerned for opinions and feelings, as well as facts. Be
sure you have the whole story. Perhaps materials or
equipment constitute a part of the problem. Special
methods or operational schedules may also have an
effect on the problem.
4. Weigh and decide. After you have assembled all
the facts, analyze the problem in light of the facts. Fit
the facts together and consider their bearing on each
other. Check regulations, policies, and practices. What
possible actions are there? What are the possible results
of each action? Choose the best action, but do not make
sudden or quick decisions.
5. Take action.
First consider the following
questions: Should I handle this problem myself? Do I
need any help in handling it? Then consider the proper
time and place to take the action that appears most likely
to solve the problem. Do not depend on someone else
to solve the problem.
6. Evaluate the action. During this procedure,
check the results of your action to see if it solved the
problem. Never assume that the problem was solved,
as you may find that the action you took brought about
additional problems instead of solving the initial
problem. Watch for changes in output, attitudes, and
relationships. If the problem was not solved, you may
need to gather more facts and go through the entire
problem-solving procedure again.
The problem-solving technique can be mastered by
anyone willing to learn. It may seem to take a great deal
of time, but eventually it will actually save time. The
individual who desires to become a good manager
should become so skilled in its use that this technique is
used automatically when dealing with the problems of
Remember, the word problem is defined as an
unsettled question or situation. When a problem is
solved, it becomes just a temporary situation. An
effective supervisor relieves temporary situations thus
preventing them from becoming a problem.
USE OF AVAILABLE RESOURCES
Effective use of personnel is perhaps the most
difficult of all military or professional tasks to learn.
Materials and systems can be examined, analyzed and
classified rather easily. The traits and characteristics of
individuals are infinite in variety because they differ in
physical abilities, intelligence, background, training,
temperament, ambition, philosophy, and any number of
other traits, defying any absolute classification. Yet
anyone who wishes to manage an organization, of
whatever size, must weld these individuals into a
harmonious team in which each contributes to the
Petty officers first class and chief petty officers have
a more urgent need to develop their management skills
than their civilian counterpanes. There is no process in
the Navy comparable to firing a person. Transfers used
as a means of eliminating problems are not
recommended, even when you are willing to overstate
Certainly, discharge of a person for
unsuitability or bad conduct is a serious step with a
permanent effect on the individual, and the Navy is
understandably reluctant to do this. You are expected to
accept the personnel assigned to you and, with
competent supervision, to accomplish whatever tasks
you are assigned.
Effective use of personnel takes place when certain
conditions are met. Some of these conditions are as
l There is no featherbeddingevery person
assigned has a legitimate function to perform.
. There are opportunities, encouragement, and
help for all personnel to develop their individual